Effective Vacuum Systems for Science and Industry
from material, achieve pressure difference,
provide thermal and/or electronic insulation
and perform other tasks.
In various industries the Edwards vacuum systems are used to produce clean environments, remove gas/liquid from material, achieve pressure difference, provide thermal and/or electronic insulation and perform other tasks. On trends in the market vacuum equipment Christian Klesinski, Director Sales Europe, Distributor Management, Franck Merieux, Market Sector Manager Industrial Europe and Lev Etingen, Regional Sales Manager Eastern Europe.
Mr. Klesinski, how do you assess the current state and prospects of development of the world’s vacuum solutions market, and which of its sectors are most important for Edwards?
Christian Klesinski: The significant drivers in the vacuum market are the semiconductor, flat panel displays, LED and solar industry segments, especially in Asia. The industrial market is following a typical industrial growth pattern. In this segment the trend is ongoing to invest in cost efficient dry running vacuum solutions. The R&D market is definitively growing, but has still not returned to where it was before the last crisis. Of particular note are the ongoing high investments in the space industry, supporting the "Mission to Mars" projects in Russia and China.
Edwards is the global technology leader in the manufacture of vacuum pumps and systems. Semiconductor and emerging technology sectors represent just under 50% of our annual revenue figures and we are the world number one in vacuum solutions. Asia is especially strong, we continue to focus in this region and have dedicated manufacturing facilities to offer local support. R&D, scientific and industrial sectors demonstrate year on year growth and in total represent approx.28% of our total revenue. Final service or aftermarket support is growing and this reflects 27% of our total revenues (2012 figures).
Europe, Americas and South Korea represent our top three performing regions, closely followed by Japan, Taiwan and China.
How has Edwards managed to achieve the status of a market leader?
C.K.: Our products specifically designed to meet the evolving challenges of laboratory markets. With more than ninety years of experience in scientific applications, we have a deep understanding of research processes and the role that vacuum plays. This experience, coupled with innovative technologies and collaborative engineering, enables us to offer a broad range of pumping solutions that reduce cost while enhancing performance.
We are able to supply a total vacuum package from Ultra High Vacuum through to atmospheric pumping from a range of products including ion getter pumps, titanium sublimation pumps, turbopumps (maglev and conventional bearings), dry scroll pumps, dry screw Pumps, rotary vane pumps, valves, instrumentation and fittings. And of cause, most importantly is our local presence – close to our customer.
Mr. Merieux, what solutions are offered for the industrial sector?
Franck Merieux: Edwards’ technologies and equipment play a key role in the major Industrial sectors like metallurgy, coating, and drying. Edwards vacuum systems are helping to make manufacturing cleaner, smarter, and cheaper.
Our expertise as solution provider equips our customers with the best solutions for their application challenges, by selecting the correct vacuum system from our broad product portfolio.
Key products include traditional technologies like oil sealed rotary vane and rotary piston pumps, mechanical booster pumps, diffusion pumps and vapour boosters, and new technologies that have minimum environmental impact, are increasingly intelligent in operation, and that have the lowest possible cost of ownership. Examples of these are the latest generation of Edwards GXS industrial dry vacuum pumps and Edwards STP turbomolecular pumps
How have users’ requirements of vacuum equipment changed?
F.M.: The increasing emphasis on environment over the last 15 years has led to significant changes in how vacuum equipment is used in industrial plants. Recent developments in vacuum pumps are mainly driven from this need to reduce the impact on the environment.
The most noticeable technology change is the shift from oil to dry technologies. First introduced by Edwards in the 90s into the chemical market, dry pump has proven to be a very reliable, robust and environmentally friendly solution. This technology offers a number of benefits to the environment such as clean exhaust gas and free from oil mist, no oil disposal nor oil treatment, reduced footprint and noise level. The increasing focus on the environment has accelerated the transition towards dry pumps.
Energy costs can be a significant operating expense for industrial plants and lowering the energy consumption is therefore a priority. Implementation of high efficiency motors combined with optimised pump mechanism is a key feature for low power vacuum pumps. Modern vacuum pumps should also include a "green mode" function for operating the pump at reduced speed and power when it is not being used on the process. All these features are built-in to the latest Edwards GXS dry screw pump range making it the ideal choice for a low power vacuum solution without compromising performance and robustness.
Reducing power can also be achieved from introducing a different technology. Simply switching from an oil diffusion pump to a dry turbomolecular pump can have huge and immediate impact on energy consumption with some savings around 90%. Edwards’ STP magnetic turbo range is the industry standard for dry, low power and maintenance free high vacuum pumps.
Another key target is the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with objectives set by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Monitoring and control regimes of CO2, the predominant GHG, are strictly regulated and therefore all industrial plants tend to replace their fossil fuel energy source with alternative sources. The global iron and steel industry is, for instance, actively participating in this change by replacing the traditional boiler and steam ejector technology with mechanical pumps. The Edwards 3 stage pumps system is a modular solution optimized for vacuum degassing and Vacuum Oxygen Decarburising. The major benefits of such systems include operating energy savings of up to 90% or more compared to steam ejector systems, and a variety of environmental benefits. These arise via the elimination of legacy boiler systems and therefore provide an instant reduction in plant CO2 GHG emissions, a reduction in water consumption, and elimination of contaminated waste water disposal from the steam ejectors.
Mr. Etingen, what is the sales and service strategy of Edwards in Russia?
Lev Etingen: Currently Edwards’ sales and service strategy in Russia is based on working with our distributor, Intech Analytics JSC, who has been a formal representative of Edwards Ltd in the territory of the Russian Federation for over 7 years. Edwards believes this is the best way to support our customers in a large and complex territory such as Russia.
Intech Analytics has its head office in St Petersburg and several branches in other cities. The local team is based on very experienced, qualified specialists in the field of vacuum. Local engineers are able to assist in the correct calculating, technical advising and on the design solution of the customer’s vacuum system using various type of Edwards equipment and accessories. Relevant technical documentation can be provided in Russian language.
Edwards is committed to aftermarket support, and Intech Analytics is also Edwards’ service provider in the territory of Russian Federation. The main service center of Intech Analytics is in St Petersburg with the workshop in Moscow. Having this local capability ensures professional and timely support to our customers. Edwards is working closely with Intech to ensure we remain the global leading vacuum pump supplier.
What innovations of Edwards are the most popular in Russia, and what are the prospects of the Russian market in your view?
L.E.: Edwards’ latest innovative equipment is already in use in the Russian R&D market. Edwards has provided vacuum solutions to several space simulation projects which demonstrate Edwards’ new developments with primary pumping systems like GXS, and secondary pumping systems like maglev turbomolecular pumps - with fully integrated control and power supply modules.
Edwards’ new generation dry scroll pumps and turbopumps like nXDS and nEXT are already popular with the Russian customer; they are reliable, robust, and offer less maintenance costs. We anticipate continued increased demand for such equipment from our local customers.
Generally the Russian economy is growing and GDP is up, which has a direct impact on industrial, construction, steel sectors etc. This in turn is linked to the increased proliferation of vacuum applications and as such Edwards sees Russia as a long term prospect. Similarly in the semiconductor environment, the demand for more consumer products which are manufactured under vacuum is driving an increased demand. Therefore, we see good long-term prospects for Edwards’ business development in Russia.
Thank you for the interesting interview.